After securing his fifth win of the season in Japan, Izan Guevara has one hand on the Moto3 title, but with four rounds left and 100 points up for grabs, anything can happen.
The Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand hosts round 17 of the 2022 Moto3 championship this weekend (30 September – 2 October).
Like the previous round at Motegi, the Thai Grand Prix will be unknown territory for most of the Moto3 field, including championship leader Guevara. The GASGAS Aspar rider showed unstoppable pace last Sunday, extending his lead in the standings to 45 points.
Despite another dominant win, it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Spaniard. A mediocre qualifying session in the wet followed a huge collision with John McPhee during the pre-race warm-up almost derailing his weekend. With adverse conditions anticipated in Thailand, it could be the trickiest event of the year.
The weather didn’t seem to faze British rookie Scott Ogden in Japan. The Visiontrack GP rider stunned the paddock with a sensational qualifying performance, earning him a spot on the front row of the grid. The 18-year-old heads to Buriram with no real expectations on his shoulders, and could spring a few more surprises if the rain falls as expected.
Ogden’s teammate, Josh Whatley will be hoping for better fortunes in Thailand. He has been taken out by other riders on the first lap in each of the last two races, and will be determined to go the full distance on Sunday.
With the season reaching it’s climax, Sergio Garcia is realistically the only challenger to Guevara’s title claim. The 19-year-old looked somewhat dejected after a spirited fourth place finish at Motegi. He struggled to keep up with the early pace at the front and was soon embroiled in a battle with the chasing pack. The young Spaniard has insisted that there is less pressure on him after losing the championship lead, but he’s still hungry to take the Moto3 crown.
Italian rider Dennis Foggia will be dreading the prospect of a wet weekend. He trails Guevara by 63 points and his record in the rain doesn’t bode well for his already slim title hopes. The Leopard Honda man did well to finish on the podium in Japan, and will have to do the same again in Thailand if he is to keep his championship dream alive.
One of the most in-form riders, at least in terms of pace, is Max Racing’s Ayumu Sasaki. The Japanese rider has had three podiums in the last four events and has raced in Thailand before. As is often the case, he is definitely one to watch this weekend.
To say the current weather forecast looks bleak would be a huge understatement. Thunderstorms are predicted for the entire event in Buriram for what will undoubtably be a very tricky race for the entire paddock. The race is scheduled to start at 12:00pm local time (06:00am GMT).
Feature Image: MotoGP